Background: Adipose tissue reaches cellular stasis after puberty, leaving adipocytes unable to significantly expand or renew under normal physiologic conditions. This is problematic in progressive lipodystrophies, in instances of scarring, and in soft-tissue damage resulting from lumpectomy and traumatic deformities, because adipose tissue will not self-renew once damaged. This yields significant clinical necessity for an off-the-shelf de novo soft-tissue replacement mechanism.
Methods: A process comprising separate steps of removing lipid and cellular materials from adipose tissue has been developed, creating an ambient temperature-stable allograft adipose matrix. Growth factors and matrix proteins relevant to angiogenesis and adipogenesis were identified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunohistochemistry, and subcutaneous soft-tissue integration of the allograft adipose matrix was investigated in vivo in both the athymic mouse and the dorsum of the human wrist.
Results: Allograft adipose matrix maintained structural components and endogenous growth factors. In vitro, adipose-derived stem cells cultured on allograft adipose matrix underwent adipogenesis in the absence of media-based cues. In vivo, animal modeling showed vasculature formation followed by perilipin A-positive tissue segments. Allograft adipose matrix maintained soft-tissue volume in the dorsal wrist in a 4-month investigation with no severe adverse events, becoming palpably consistent with subcutaneous adipose.
Conclusions: Subcutaneous implantation of allograft adipose matrix laden with retained angiogenic and adipogenic factors served as an inductive scaffold for sustaining adipogenesis. Tissue incorporation assessed histologically from both the subcutaneous injection site of the athymic nude mouse over 6 months and human dorsal wrist presented adipocyte morphology residing within the injected scaffold.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02445118.